Why Saying Hello Saves Lives
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Student Life

To Those Who Said 'Hello' To Me, Thank You

People like you can save lives.


Never underestimate the importance of a simple "hello" to somebody. It could save a life.

As I reflect on my first year at college, I see a span of time that provided some of my most fun experiences, but also some of the loneliest moments in my life where I struggled day in and day out. In the amazing memories I've made (and the people involved), I sometimes couldn't fathom how great my life was. But in the times I was cripplingly isolated and sad, I still wonder how I managed to survive those times.

Then I remembered some of the people who helped me get through them. These people are the ones who take the time to talk to me, make me feel welcome, or even say a simple hello when passing by on campus. Some of them may know who they are, some of them may think they know who they are, and some may have absolutely no idea. But for all of the above and on behalf of anyone who felt a similar way, I have an important story to tell you.

Years ago, at a middle school assembly, one of the guidance counselors told a story that has resonated in the back of my mind so many years later (and believe me, I rarely paid attention at those assemblies). He told the story passed down through Dr. Jerome Motto of one of his patients who committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in 1963. After investigating the man who jumped, Dr. Motto found a note left in his apartment with two heart-wrenching sentences:

"I'm going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me, I won't jump."

Now yes, I do have a pretty keen memory but I still have been told thousands of different "inspirational" stories in my life. And this is one I have not forgotten. Maybe this anecdote is a painful reminder that it's a lonely world and people are generally unfriendly and America has a raging mental health crisis and a suicide epidemic. Or maybe it actually emphasizes the importance of saying a simple hello, of taking a moment to think about a person other than yourself, of helping somebody else not feel so alone.

Personally, I interpret this story more as the latter.

So to the people who personally helped me or anyone else who takes the time to make others feel welcome and acknowledged, I'd like to let you know that you might save lives and never even know. You may have helped me have an easier time getting through a miserable day (or miserable week) but you may have helped somebody else endure a miserable month or a miserable semester.

Or perhaps you are the reason somebody chooses to live. Never forget that.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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